Sunday, November 25, 2012

Camden Corners: The Merryweather - Prolog


On the first day of summer in 1973, the grandest hotel and resort in Camden Corners opened for business. The resort was called simply The Merryweather in honor of the family who built and resided in the stately old mansion throughout the 1800s and early 1900s.
Cyrus Merryweather wanted to begin life with his new bride in the most impressive home in all of Camden Corners. He had the house built on top of the highest hill in Camden Corners and ordered the building be so large that no other dwelling would ever compete with its splendor.
Cyrus and his bride moved into the mansion. Mrs. Merryweather presented Cyrus with two children. A girl named Millicent and a boy named Neville. Living on top of the tallest hill in Camden Corners set Millicent and Neville apart from the other children of the village.
Neville fell in love with Helene Robinson during his college days, but because her father was an ordinary shopkeeper, Cyrus disapproved of the relationship and forced Neville into a loveless marriage. Neville moved to the neighboring town of Greensboro with the bride he never loved.
Millicent never moved out of the mansion on the hill. She became Millicent Merryweather Stout after her marriage. Mr. Stout was a caring man who knew his wife loved the old homestead and was willing to finance the constant expense of the place. After several years, Millicent began running out of funds to support the upkeep of the place. A solution was to open the first floor as an antique shop. The shop proved to be successful allowing Millicent to stay in her beloved home. Through her financial struggles, Millicent became a true member of the community. She formed everlasting friendships and found true happiness when she opened her heart and home to others.
It was the dream of young entrepreneurs, Tracy Robinson and Holly Mackenzie to preserve as much of the main building and grounds as possible. The folks of Camden Corners were skeptical the old place could be restored and thought the young women may have been in over their heads. They were determined to follow through with the project. On the day of the closing, they discovered an old trunk that had been pushed into the rafters on the third floor. Inside were dozens of journals written by the women who lived in Camden Corners at the beginning of the 20th Century. Most every family now residing in Camden Corners had ancestors who lived and raised families in the small town and were represented by a journal or two from the past.
After the discovery of the journals, even the most skeptical of the long time residents began to embrace the idea of restoring the mansion to its original condition and were more than willing to lend a hand.
The journals and framed photographs of the men, women and children decorated the walls and glass cases of a section of the first floor of the resort. At least three times a day, the cleaning crew of The Merryweather cleaned fingerprints from the cases as people were fascinated peering through the glass to read a page or two of the now famous journals. Each morning a page was turned in each and every journal to the next day's entry. Residents and visitors alike felt a special bond with the authors of the diaries keeping their memories alive long after their passing.

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